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ACRL Board Manual 2024-2025

Board Manual for the ACRL Board of Directors.

1.0 Strategic Plan

ACRL Plan for Excellence

Approved April 20, 2011. Effective July 1, 2011. Reaffirmed September 2013. Revised November 2022.


The strengths and capacities of ACRL have enabled the association to sustain exemplary programs and results for its members and to shape policies and practices of vital interest to higher education.  ACRL’s Plan for Excellence continues that path and focuses attention on four areas that capitalize on our strengths, deliver high member value, and heighten our impact:

  • Value of Academic Libraries
  • Student Learning
  • Research and Scholarly Environment
  • New Roles and Changing Landscapes
  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

These strategic areas will be supported by financial and operational planning, and will guide the development and implementation of programs and services that target education, advocacy and member engagement.

ACRL’s leadership views strategic thinking and planning as an ongoing process. Adoption of this plan for excellence affirms the general intent and direction articulated by the association’s core ideology, envisioned future, shorter-term goals, and objectives. Progress will be assessed annually and will guide the operational planning process. The plan for excellence will be updated based on achievement of the goals and their continued relevance as new needs and opportunities arise.

Timeless Core Ideology

Core Purpose

To lead academic and research librarians and libraries in advancing learning and scholarship.

Core Organizational Values

ACRL is committed to:

  • visionary leadership, transformation, new ideas, and global perspectives
  • exemplary service to members
  • equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • integrity and transparency
  • continuous learning
  • responsible stewardship of resources
  • the values of higher education, intellectual freedom, the ALA Ethics policy, and “The Library Bill of Rights
Core Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

ACRL is dedicated to creating diverse and inclusive communities in the Association and in academic and research libraries. This core commitment permeates the work of the Association, cutting across all ACRL sections, committees, interest and discussion groups, and communities of practice. The Association will acknowledge and address historical racial inequities; challenge oppressive systems within academic libraries; value different ways of knowing; and identify and work to eliminate barriers to equitable services, spaces, resources, and scholarship.

Long-term Envisioned Future


Academic and research librarians and libraries are essential to a thriving global community of learners and scholars.

Vivid Description of a Desired Future

ACRL elevates the position, recognition, and impact of all academic and research libraries and librarians as catalysts in exceptional research and learning. Academic libraries play a critical role in building diverse, welcoming, and equitable communities; developing inclusive organizations, spaces and services; guarding against policies and practices that intentionally or unintentionally create racial inequalities; embodying diversity in the profession; and creating conditions so that all users are respected and supported in their intellectual dialogues and pursuits. Librarians and their colleagues design services that provide scholars and learners the unfettered ability to create, access, evaluate, and use knowledge. College and university students are information literate, informed scholars and citizens who value the opinions, perspectives, and experiences of others. Facile use of information sources and discovery techniques enables them to succeed in their coursework and future careers preparing them to lead new national and global initiatives. Partnering with academic librarians to collect and organize research data, faculty break new ground in their respective fields. Academic libraries, constantly transforming to meet the evolving needs of their campuses, are central to educational and research efforts.

Five-Year Goals and Objectives

Value of Academic Libraries

Goal: Academic libraries demonstrate alignment with and impact on institutional outcomes.

  1. Cultivate research opportunities that communicate the impact of academic and research libraries in the higher education environment.
  2. Promote the impact and value of academic and research libraries to the higher education community.
  3. Expand professional development opportunities for assessment and advocacy of the contributions towards impact of academic libraries.
  4. Support libraries in articulating their role in advancing issues of equity, access, diversity, and inclusion in higher education.
Student Learning

Goal: Advance equitable and inclusive pedagogical practices and environments for libraries to support student learning.

  1. Empower libraries to build sustainable, equitable, inclusive, and responsive information literacy programs.
  2. Collaborate with internal and external partners to expand understanding of the impact of information literacy on student learning.
Research and Scholarly Environment

Goal: The academic and research library workforce accelerates the transition to more open and equitable systems of scholarship.

  1. Increase the ways ACRL is an advocate and model for more representative and inclusive ways of knowing.
  2. Enhance members’ capacity to address issues related to scholarly communication, including but not limited to data management, library publishing, open access, and digital scholarship, and power and privilege in knowledge creation systems.
  3. Increase ACRL’s efforts to influence and advocate for more open and equitable dissemination policies and practices.
New Roles and Changing Landscapes

Goal: The academic and research library workforce effectively fosters change in academic libraries and higher education environments.

  1. Deepen ACRL’s advocacy and support for the full range of the academic library workforce.
  2. Equip the academic library workforce to effectively lead, manage, and embrace change, advocate for their communities, and serve as a catalyst for transformational change in higher education.
  3. Increase diversity, cultivate equity, and nurture inclusion in the academic library workforce.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Goal: Academic and research libraries will practice cultural humility, promote community accountability, and be unwavering in their ongoing, iterative commitment to remedy systemic inequalities in their contexts.


  1. Enhance members’ capacity to acknowledge, interrogate, and dismantle white supremacist structures and other systems of oppression.
  2. Provide professional development and resources to attract, hire, support, retain, and promote workers from marginalized communities, which helps build inclusive working environments that center trust and belonging.
  3. Build relationships and coalitions to cultivate “collective ownership, accountability, and responsibility” (Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity: A Framework, 2022).

On April 20, 2011, adopted the ACRL Plan for Excellence effective July 1, 2011, and rescinded the former strategic plan, Charting Our Future: ACRL Strategic Plan 2020, also effective July 1, 2011. The plan is reviewed and reaffirmed or revised annually. 

At the ALA Midwinter Meeting and ALA Annual Conference in 2010, the ACRL Leadership Council identified challenges facing academic librarianship and prioritized areas for action. These conversations along with Futures Thinking for Academic Librarians the 2010 Top Ten Trends in Academic Libraries and the Value of Academic Libraries report, as well as the Strategic Plan Activities Report, informed the strategic planning process.

The ACRL Board of Directors dedicated the fall 2010 Strategic Planning and Orientation Session (SPOS) to drafting a new strategic plan. The ACRL Board accomplished the goal of creating a focused and streamlined plan in drafting the ACRL Plan for Excellence. ACRL members were invited to provide feedback to the ACRL Board of directors via an online survey and during table discussions at the 2011 Midwinter Leadership Council Session. The Executive Committee reviewed the feedback submitted by members and made revisions to the draft ACRL Plan for Excellence in the spring of 2011. The full Board of Directors was invited to comment on and officially approve the revised draft.

The Board had dedicated time at the 2011 SPOS to reviewing draft Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess progress on implementing the strategic goals. The Board also dedicated time to discuss resource allocation to support the implementation of the Plan for Excellence.

The Board decided to keep the Key Performance Indicator process for ACRL Staff, as it related to Enabling Programs and Services. It was decided that goal-area committees would not have to complete Key Performance Indicators, instead working through a year-end report and work plan allowing them to assess their progress toward their objectives through indicating color levels (red, yellow, green).

In March 2016, the Board approved a revised Plan for Excellence that included a new goal, New Roles and Changing Landscapes, and updated the objectives in October 2016. The Board again reviewed the Plan for Excellence during its fall 2017 SPOS meeting, and approved revised objectives in October 2017. The Board added equity, diversity, and inclusion as a signature initiative in 2018 and the Board developed language for the Plan for Excellence and signature initiative at SPOS 2018. On November 18, 2018, the Board approved the addition of the Core Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to the Plan for Excellence.

On January 28, 2022, the ACRL Board of Directors approved a fifth strategic goal area dedicated to Equity Diversity and Inclusion and approved the existing ACRL Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee as a goal-area committee. Seeking input from member stakeholders, a Board working group was charged with drafting the Equity Diversity and Inclusion goals and objectives. At the one-day Strategic Planning and Orientation Session (SPOS), held in-person on June 23, 2022, during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC, ACRL Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee 2021-2022 Chair Maisha Carey facilitated a discussion with Board members and senior staff to help develop the new EDI goal and objectives. During August and early September 2023, the EDI Committee held five committee meetings, where work was completed on the new goal and objectives. At the October 11, 2022 ACRL Fall Board Virtual Meeting, the Board discussed the proposed goal and objectives. These were further refined and the Board approved the goal and objectives during an asynchronous virtual vote held November 2, 2022 to November 8, 2022.

Additional information on the development of the strategic plan can be found on the ACRL website

A strategic plan is designed to give a long-range vision of where the Association is going, what its future is, and strategic directions to take.